By News Team
Last Updated: 12th February 2021
The 2021 Six Nations opened with a thrilling weekend, seeing England lose the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, as Scotland humbled the pre-tournament favourites. France dominated the Italians and now become the 5/4 favourites to win the championship for the first time since 2010.
Meanwhile, Wales secured the win at home to Ireland, although not in the most convincing manner, and their trip to a transformed Scotland in the second round looks a tough task. Ireland will try to bounce back against the French at the Aviva Stadium but will know that they face an uphill battle.
We preview this weekend’s second-round fixtures of the 2021 Six Nations below.
Saturday – England v Italy, 14:15
England went into the tournament with high expectations after a solid Autumn campaign, and they will need to rediscover their form if they want to keep their hopes alive. The perfect opportunity to do that presents itself as they host Italy, in a fixture that Eddie Jones will hope can put the confidence back in his men before the following weekend’s break.
The handicap is set at a 38-point margin with England (+37) at 11/10. The hosts will hope to put on a rejuvenated display and achieve the win with a bonus point. To achieve this, Jones has made some changes to the starting XI and brings in George Ford, Courtney Lawes, Kyle Sinckler, and Mako Vunipola.
To facilitate the introduction of Ford, captain Owen Farrell will play inside centre, where he is a 2/1 chance to score a try anytime. The try scorer market is headed by England’s winger Jonny May at 2/5.
Saturday – Scotland v Wales, 16:45
One of these sides will lose their chance of a Grand Slam on Saturday, as both were victorious in the opening weekend.
The market reflects the difference in how the two sides performed in victory last weekend with Scotland the 4/9 favourites to take the win. On the handicap front the margin is set at 6 points, with Scotland (+6) becoming an 11/10 chance if winning by as many points. Wales will miss the security that the Principality Stadium has given them in recent years, and it looks a tough task to take Scotland on at Murrayfield, who will be full of confidence on the back of their triumph over England.
The hosts have had to make three injury-induced changes to their line-up but fortunately for them that doesn’t include fly-half Finn Russell or try-scoring Duhan van der Merwe, who is a 14/1 shot to score a try in both halves.
Sunday – Ireland v France, 15:00
As mentioned, France are current favourites to land the Six Nations championship, and they will be heading to Ireland expectant of the win and another dominant display, which if they achieve it could set up the game of the tournament as they face Scotland in round three.
This fixture will be more difficult than the test they faced against Italy and the odds reflect that, with Les Bleus a 4/6 shot to win the match. On the handicap front, 3 points is the predicted margin with Ireland (+3) and France (-3) both 10/11 chances.